What is habitat mapping and when is it required?
Habitat mapping involves the production of maps using GIS software to show the spatial distribution of habitats within a given area. Habitat mapping may be required at the individual small-scale site level to provide site-specific information as part of an ecological assessment or at a large-scale landscape level to accumulate a baseline record of habitat information for a wider survey area, such as at county level. At the site level, the production of a habitat map can facilitate the identification of impacts as a result of a particular development proposal, while larger scale habitat mapping projects can provide fundamental information for the purposes of spatial and strategic planning and conservation management by assessing the importance, rarity and extent of habitats over local, regional and national scales.
What does habitat mapping involve?
The habitat mapping work carried out by ecologists from McCarthy Keville O'Sullivan uses the latest GPS survey equipment combined with powerful GIS mapping software, to produce detailed habitat maps to any required scale. Satellite imagery and small-scale maps are consulted in advance of field visits and used along with GPS equipment to sketch maps in the field. Target notes are also taken in the field to record observations on habitats and species present, species abundance and general descriptions of each habitat. Habitats are classified in accordance with Fossit's A Guide to Habitats in Ireland (2000). McCarthy Keville O'Sullivan was one of the first companies to pilot The Heritage Council’s then draft 'A Standard Methodology for Habitat Survey and Mapping in Ireland' and staff have attended training on habitat mapping held by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM). McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan have the necessary staff resources, equipment and experience to take on habitats mapping projects of any scale.